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Publication, Part of

Statistics on Alcohol, England 2020

Official statistics, National statistics

National Statistics

Part 2: Alcohol-specific deaths

Alcohol misuse can be directly attributed to deaths from certain types of disease such as alcoholic liver disease.  This section presents information on the number of deaths that are specific to alcohol consumption.

The data source is the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which uses the National Statistics (NS) definition of alcohol-specific deaths.  This definition only includes conditions where each death is a direct consequence of alcohol misuse. The definition is primarily based on chronic (longer-term) conditions associated with continued misuse of alcohol and, to a lesser extent, acute (immediate) conditions. 

Public Health England (PHE) produces estimates for both alcohol-specific and alcohol-related deaths at local authority level.  Alcohol-related deaths also included diseases where only a proportion of the deaths were caused by alcohol (such as cancers of the mouth, oesophagus and liver), are higher than the ONS figures for alcoholic specific deaths.

Alcohol-specific deaths

Alcohol-specific deaths – last 10 years

In England in 2018, there were 5,698 alcohol-specific deaths which  is 2% lower than 2017 and an increase of 7% on 2008.

Note: a further 1,920 deaths were also due to unspecified hepatitis and fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. These deaths are not included in the alcohol-specific charts because they are defined as only being partially attributable to alcohol. See annex A for more details.


The alcohol-specific age-standardised death rates per 100,000 population were 14.8 for males in 2018 which is over twice the rate for females (6.9).

The rates for both males and females has remained broadly similar since 2007.


Alcohol-specific deaths by age

The number of deaths increases with age up to 50-59 and then decreases.

77% of deaths were in the age range 40-69.


Alcohol-specific deaths by sex

Just over twice as many men died as women.

In total 67% of the deaths were for men.


Alcohol-specific and alcohol-related deaths by condition

Alcoholic liver disease accounted for 79% of the 5,698 alcohol-specific deaths. A further 10% were from mental and behavioural disorders due to the use of alcohol.

A further 1,920 deaths were due to unspecified hepatitis and fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. These deaths are not defined as alcohol-specific deaths. Alcohol-specific deaths cover conditions known to be exclusively caused by alcohol (wholly attributable) and excludes conditions where only a proportion of the deaths are caused by alcohol (partially attributable).  See annex A for more details.


Alcohol-specific deaths by region

In general, age-standardised death rates are higher in the North and lower in London and the South.


Alcohol-specific deaths by Index of Multiple Deprivation quintile

Death rates were highest in the most deprived areas and lowest in the least deprived areas.

Index of Multiple Deprivation

The English Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) is a measure of area deprivation, based on 37 indicators, across seven domains of deprivation. IMD is a measure of the overall deprivation experienced by people living in a neighbourhood, although not everyone who lives in a deprived neighbourhood will be deprived themselves. To enable comparisons, areas are classified into quintiles (fifths).

Further information about the IMD

Last edited: 25 February 2020 2:29 pm